Bridging the Divide
Working-Class Culture in a Middle-Class Society
Published by: Cornell University Press
256 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm, 1 chart
- ISBN: 9781501760310
- Published: November 2021
In Bridging the Divide, Jack Metzgar attempts to determine the differences between working-class and middle-class cultures in the United States. Drawing on a wide range of multidisciplinary sources, Metzgar writes as a now middle-class professional with a working-class upbringing, explaining the various ways the two cultures conflict and complement each other, illustrated by his own lived experiences.
Set in a historical framework that reflects on how both class cultures developed, adapted, and survived through decades of historical circumstances, Metzgar challenges professional middle-class views of both the working-class and themselves. In the end, he argues for the creation of a cross-class coalition of what he calls "standard-issue professionals" with both hard-living and settled-living working people and outlines some policies that could help promote such a unification if the two groups had a better understanding of their differences and how to use those differences to their advantage.
Bridging the Divide mixes personal stories and theoretical concepts to give us a compelling look inside the current complex position of the working-class in American culture and a view of what it could be in the future.
Introduction: Achieving Mediocrity
Part I: NOSTALGIA FOR THE THIRTY-YEAR CENTURY OF THE COMMON
1. What Was Glorious about the Glorious Thirty?
2. The Rise of Professional Middle-Class Labor
3. Working-Class Agency in Place
4. "At Least We Ought to Be Able To"
Part II: FREE WAGE LABOR AND THE CULTURES OF CLASS
5. There Is a Genuine Working-Class Culture
6. Categorical Differences in Class Cultures
Part III: STRATEGIES AND ASPECTS OF WORKING-CLASS CULTURE
7. Ceding Control to Gain Control
8. Taking It & Living in the Moments
9. Working-Class Realism
Epilogue: Two Good Class Cultures